Facts of languages
Number of living languages:
Number of those languages that are nearly extinct:
Language with the greatest number of native speakers:
Language spoken by the greatest number of non-native speakers:
English (250 million to 350 million non-native speakers)
Country with the most languages spoken:
Papua New Guinea has 820 living languages
long have languages existed:
Since about 100,000 BC
First language ever
Sumerian or Egyptian (about 3200 BC)
Oldest written language still in existence: Chinese or Greek (about 1500 BC)
Language with the most words:
English, approx. 250,000 distinct words
Language with the fewest words:
Taki Taki (also called Sranan), 340 words. Taki Taki is an
English-based Creole spoken by 120,000 in the South American country of
Language with the largest alphabet (including diacritics): Kabardian (58 letters). Kabardian belongs to the
North Caucasian language family. The approx. 1 million Kabardian-speakers
live primarily in Russia.
Language with the largest alphabet (graphically independent letters):
Georgian (41 letters). This language of the Kartvelian family is
spoken by over 4 million people primarily living in Georgia.
Language with the
shortest alphabet: Rotokas (12 letters). Approx. 4300 people speak this East
Papuan language. They live primarily in the Bougainville Province of
Papua New Guinea.
language with the fewest sounds (phonemes):
Rotokas (11 phonemes)
language with the most sounds (phonemes): !Xóõ (112 phonemes). Approx. 4200 speak !Xóõ, the vast
majority of whom live in the African country of Botswana.
Language with the fewest consonant sounds: Rotokas (6 consonants)
Language with the most consonant sounds:
Ubyx (81 consonants). This language of the North Causasian
Language family, once spoken in the Haci Osman village near Istanbul,
has been extinct since 1992. Among living languages! Xóõ has the most
Language with the fewest vowel sounds:
Ubyx (2 vowels). The related language Abkhaz also has 2
vowels in some dialects. There are approximately 106,000 Abkhaz speakers
living primarily in Georgia.
Language with the
most vowel sounds!
Xóõ (31 vowels)
most widely published language:
Language with the fewest irregular verbs:
Language which has won the most Oscars:
Italian (12 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film)
most translated document:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written by the United
Nations in 1948, has been translated into 321 languages and dialects.
most common consonant sounds in the world's languages:
/p/, /t/, /k/,
Longest word in the English language: